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A Closer Look at the Effects of Marijuana on Memory Loss

January 30, 2017 | Blog

At Spring Hills, we actively make a point of staying on top of the latest advancements in memory care; with so many seniors facing issues with dementia and memory loss today, this is one of the most rapidly evolving areas of medicine. Marijuana and memory loss is one of the most heavily explored topics in this area because of the drug’s association with memory problems, as well as its emerging health benefits for other health conditions that seniors face, primarily pain-related ailments such as arthritis.

Research has shown that marijuana does indeed contribute to memory loss, but questions do still remain. How and why does cannabis affect memory? Do negative side effects outweigh the benefits of medicinal marijuana usage? And, with 5.2 million older adults in American currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, does marijuana pose a dementia risk?

The Effects of Cannabis on the Brain and Short Term Memory

A recent study performed by researchers at the University of Bordeaux in France illustrated how the brain responds to cannabis at the cellular level, and clearly explains why its usage impairs cognitive function. Marijuana contains more than 100 different types of chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids. These compounds mimic natural chemicals in the brain that act as neurotransmitters.

The researchers found that when the chemicals found in marijuana interact with the receptors found in the nerve cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for the formulation of memories, short-term memory loss can occur.

Medicinal Marijuana Usage Among Older Patients

Because cannabis has been shown to alleviate some instances of pain and nausea, some seniors have been turning to marijuana as a form of relief. While the plant may have some beneficial properties, marijuana and memory loss are known to go hand-in-hand. Though researchers believe they may be able to develop a therapy to prevent the negative effects on cells in the hippocampus, it is important to understand the currently known effects of marijuana on memory.

The more individuals and their caregivers know, the more equipped they are to make informed health decisions. At Spring Hills assisted living facilities, we don’t use medicinal marijuana as part of our senior care services. Instead, we make a point of staying on top of the latest research, enabling us to deliver therapies that are proven to benefit the lives of those in our communities.

Interested in learning more about the therapies available at Spring Hills to support a healthy mind, body, and spirit? Contact us here to request more information.

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